Offensive milestones contribute to Dukes’ win
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 23:10
After rallying from an early deficit to defeat Valparaiso and again engineering a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Bryant in consecutive weeks, the Duquesne football team found themselves in a familiar spot trailing St. Francis (Pa.) 21-13 in the fourth quarter of their Homecoming matchup Saturday afternoon.
In front of one of the largest home crowds of the year, the Dukes turned to the usual suspects, seniors Sean Patterson and Larry McCoy, for an offensive spark to notch a comeback win for the third week in a row. In the early season, the Dukes (4-1, 2-0) have turned to the steady hand of their senior quarterback and tailback in big spots to propel the team to an excellent start to the 2012 campaign.
Patterson and McCoy took over in crunch time and spearheaded a 72-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run from McCoy, his second visit to the end zone on the day. Patterson then scrambled in the pocket and found Kyle Shuman in the corner of the end zone for a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 21 with 6:54 left in the game.
After the defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive, Patterson found McCoy out of the backfield for an 11-yard gain. He then hit junior wide receiver Sean Brady on a beautiful 30-yard toss to his back shoulder on a crucial 3rd-and-8, that set up the game-winning field goal from kicker Charlie Leventry with 32 seconds to go that gave the Dukes a 24-21 victory.
Patterson finished the day completing 22-of-31 passes for 251 yards, while McCoy amassed 122 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s ninth straight victory at Rooney Field.
Their impact on the game did not go unnoticed among students.
“It was great seeing [Patterson and McCoy] lead the younger guys in front of a big crowd under pressure,” said junior biology major Dan Kelly after the game. “It was a huge boost for the team going forward, and those two guys were largely responsible for it.”
Sophomore sports marketing major Chuck Holupka directed praises in the team’s leading rusher’s direction from his perch on the sidelines.
“McCoy was catching the ball out of the backfield and running the ball with authority,” Holupka said. “He was a constant. When the team needed a big play, they went to Larry.”
The two have been offensive stalwarts for the Dukes in the first five games of the season. McCoy has gone over the 100-yard mark in each of the past four games, and in 19 of the last 24. He has scored seven touchdowns in the last three games. Patterson, meanwhile, has been nothing short of efficient in his last three starts. He has thrown for 758 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception. His experience has shown as he continued to find the open man in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, particularly in his throw to Brady’s back shoulder on third down that ultimately put the offense in position to kick the game-winning field goal.
They look to not only continue to win games and defend the team’s stake in last year’s NEC title, but also to advance in their assault on the program’s record books. McCoy passed the 4,000 career yard mark on a 6-yard run in the first quarter and ended the day with 4,099, needing only 162 more to pass halfback Donte Small (4,161) as Duquesne’s all-time leading rusher. His two touchdowns also brought him within six scores of tying the University’s career rushing touchdown record (41) held by halfback Pedro Bowman. Patterson’s effort on Saturday moved him to number three on the career completions list, with 429 passing Dave Loya who had 417 completions.
The team will travel to face Central Connecticut next weekend and hopes to continue to count on the senior leadership Patterson and McCoy have exemplified thus far. With a strong defense that made key stops when it mattered most Saturday, the Dukes look to rally behind McCoy’s playmaking abilities and Patterson’s knack for the clutch to continue on their current winning streak and capture a second consecutive NEC title down the road.